Modeling Wartime Decisionmaking at the National Command Level

by Paul K. Davis, Steven C. Bankes, James P. Kahan

Summary of R-3290-NA, which describes and illustrates a methodology for modeling National Command Level (NCL) decisionmaking in large-scale crisis and conflict involving both superpowers-a methodology that progresses from abstract concepts about superpower objectives and strategy through the step-by-step procedures for building an operational computer program. Its two key components are defining an "image" of Soviet or U.S. decisionmaking, and moving from that imprecise image to a precise and coherent computer program. The report's sections outline the modeling approach; review the most important concepts underlying the approach; describe the systematic definition of alternative coherent images of the Soviet or U.S. NCL; describe building an operational computer program that is both transparent and able to explain its own decisions; and discuss initial experiences using prototype versions of the computer models.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research brief series. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.